Arsenal

Graeme Souness is spot-on in saying Arsenal players and the rest of the Premier League are going down too easily and ruining the spectacle.

That is the view of ex-FIFA and Premier League referee Keith Hackett, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about Souness’ Sky Sports rant following Arsenal’s 1-0 loss to Everton.

The legendary Scot claimed “our football is a hard watch at the moment” and referees have an “enormous part” to play in returning the game to its former glory.

Souness delivered his verdict after Arsenal awarded a soft penalty when Dani Ceballos went down after a challenge from Richarlison before it was overturned because of an offside in the build-up.

Asked for his assessment of the pundit’s comments, Hackett told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “I feel Souness has a point.

“In relation to physicality, there’s much less physicality now.

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“In my era, you would have players taking the knock and coming back with some aggression but taking the knock and saying ‘That’s part of football.’

“Whereas I think the comment really is relating to how players are going over so quickly screaming and shouting is an absolutely valid one. That aspect of the game which is in essence cheating degrades the quality of the entertainment.

“In terms of referring it’s a rock and a hard place. They are less likely to apply an advantage than perhaps in our day. We were fairly loose, we operated on personality, we developed trust with players, we took risks.

“What we’re seeing now is a set of manufactured referees that are on tramlines and an expectation from spectators if there’s a challenge and the player goes down it’s a yellow card.”

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